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Old 2015-08-04, 22:27   #1
Jul 2014

1BF16 Posts
Default transformer oil changing colour

The second picture is of a submersive cooling with transformer oil in the tank which has been working for a month or two.
The oil has gradually changed to a urine like colour.
Fortunately I can show what it looked like originally since the first picture tank has yet to be started. It has oil in it in it's original

Does anyone know whether I should be alarmed by the colouration. I didn't expect it to happen so soon.
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Last fiddled with by wildrabbitt on 2015-08-04 at 22:28
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Old 2015-08-06, 05:51   #2
Romulan Interpreter
LaurV's Avatar
Jun 2011

22AC16 Posts

Take a handful of cotton (wadding? the one used for cotton buds for children) and press it hard into a funnel to make a filter. Take a few milliliters of your oil and filter it through it. If it comes out the same color, yes, you should be alarmed! The transformer oil you use contained enough oxygen, and also got oxygen from the atmosphere (cover that bucket with a plastic lid, man!!) and by oxidation it transforms into an acid, which decreases the insulation properties. First the power consumption will increase, by leaking currents, first they are not dangerous, but then the picoamperes become nanoamperes, then microampers, etc, at the end your hardware is shorted and boom!, gone. Search the web for "transformer oil oxidation", there are large topics.

If the oil comes through the funnel in its original color, you should not worry at all, but you should install some agitation mechanism in your bay. An aquarium pump (small one) or a running fan will do it. The cause is that in some places the hardware gets hotter and the impurities in the oil are "fried" (like in "fried chicken"). They become dark and change the color of the oil. In this case, they are huge (microscopic, but still huge) and they will be retained by the filter. Agitating the oil avoids the "extremely hot" spots in small areas (volumes, actually, but the heat exchange is on "areas", hehe). If this is your case, filter all the oil, install a small agitator, and you are good to go.

Oxidated oil is not retained by the filter, so it comes on the other side unchanged. There are "chemical" solutions that will neutralize the acid, maybe you can look for such a solution, add it to your oil and then filter it (the snow will remain in the filter). But the best for the future is still to reduce the surface of contact with the atmosphere, even the water, if you let it in a glass, it will change the pH from 7 to 8.5, because it dissolves the oxygen from the atmosphere. Who had fish tanks know how important is the water surface (as opposed to volume) for a good comfort of the fish (aeration, etc).

Also, if your tank is not covered, the oil can dissolve not only oxygen (forming acid) but also water from the atmosphere, forming some "sludge" (it become milky). That could be filtered easy, as it is retained into the cotton.

Last fiddled with by LaurV on 2015-08-06 at 05:58 Reason: s/disolve/dissolve/, allover
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